Sunday, May 22, 2016

End of Summer Hurrah at Club Manila East

With barely two weeks left in summer, my family decided on an impromptu family swimming at one of Rizal's premier resorts, Club Manila East (CME).

CME is huge resort complex made up of a huge fantasy lagoon for kayaking and surfbikes (water bicycles), a kiddie pool, adult pools (a sun-screened pool, a 3-looped, 30-ft high slide, a 25-meter lap pool and a bean pool) and the resort's star attractions "2 wave pools (BeachWaves and OceanWaves, where one can actually do some serious surfing)".

CME also has basketball courts, volleyball courts and ziplines. Unfortunately, I was unable to tour the entire CME grounds as I was the designate "yaya" to my 7 year old, who would not leave the water.

Anyway, here is a quick peak at CME:

We rented a two (2) cabanas for our family of 25. Each cabana can seat down 15 persons, 7am to 7pm rental cost is P1500 each (not bad).
Entrance  is P325 weekdays/P375 weekends; Free for kids below 3 feet (Note: they have senior citizen rates, so be sure to ask if you have seniors along).

My dad enjoying the view (yup pretty ladies in skimpy bikinis, nah!)

Meanwhile, in the other cabana, sits my 93 year old Lola. I think she is secretively wanting to do some swimming too.


Club Manila East also offers overnight accommodations, overnight villas costs P3000-P3300 per villa, which includes breakfast for 2.


This cute (fake) buko tree is actually a stand-in shower (swimmers are required to shower before going swimming). 


Water, water everywhere...




The fantasy lagoon is right infront of our cabana.




The family wasted no time and jumped right in.
Water is surprisingly warm... "ang sarap lumangoy"!

 Wondering where most of the people are? Head to one of CME's wave pools ~ the BeachWave!

The wave pool in action :P (sorry no videos of the OceanWave)

I think my youngest had the most fun at CME ~ I will let this picture do the talking :P  


VERDICT:
  • CME does not come cheap at P375 per head. If you are a big family, entrance alone could easily pile to thousands.  Consider instead hiring a private pool ~ like Cattleya Resort Antipolo.
  • However, having said that, I think my family seemed to have enjoyed CME more with its multitude of specialized pools.
  • Previously CME does not allow food to be brought inside. Buying food from their concessionaires was the only option.  They have for the time being, allowed bringing in of food (drinks still not allowed though), but their notice says it is only until December 2016.  Be sure to check out this information on their website incase of changes.
  • No facilities for cooking (including grilling).  There is no refrigerator either.
  • The place is clean and well kept. The swimming pools were also well maintained.  The pools were clean (less for the kiddie pool, hell knows what is in there... I am not sure if CME requires swimming pants/diapers from babies/toddlers). 
  • The cabanas were nice too, though it needs a bit of updating.  The cabanas also lacked chairs.   We were only given 15 chairs for sharing. We were informed additional chairs are coming, but yup NONE came (boo-hoo). 

For more information about Club Manila East check out their website at www.clubmanilaeast.com.

Club Manila East is located at
Km.24 Manila East Road, Taytay Rizal
Tel 284-4740/54 and 660-2801 to 02

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Summit Hotel Magnolia ~ Hotel Review

 
Why travel far (with traffic and all) if you can have the bonding you want near the Metro?
 
Check out our most recent staycation hotel find in Quezon City ~ Summit Hotel Magnolia.
 
This hotel is perfect for shop-a-holic mommas as it has direct access to Robinson's Magnolia mall. So cool!
The hotel lobby is small with very few sitting, but quite chic with bits and pieces of modern elements.
 
My son while waiting for our room.
 
A room at the Summit Hotel is really affordable. A Super Twin room cost a little over P2500 plus VAT.  We got ours at a much lower price in a travel expo.
 
All rooms come with:
· 42-inch, flat-screen TV with HDMI, USB ports and Premium Cable Channels
· Executive Work Desk
· Individually Controlled Air Conditioning Unit
· High-quality Bed Linens and Duvet Covers
· Ultra-soft, non-allergenic Pillows
· Coffee/Tea Making Facility
· Mini-bar Chiller
· Private Bathroom with Hot and Cold Storm Shower
· Hairdryer
· Vanity Mirror
· In-room safe
· RFID Proximity Card and Lock System
 
 
Our room is smaller than we have expected, but given the price we paid for, we are not really complaining.
 
 
The beds were soft and comfortable, however, I think they are a bit small to fit my family of 4 comfortably (sleeping arrangement for 4 person needs a bit of imagination). 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Our package came with set breakfast for 2 in café located right next to the hotel ~ Club House
 
 

VERDICT:
  • Location is right next to Robinsons Magnolia ~ perfect for those who wants to do some major shopping. 
  • Rates are really affordable.
  • Summit Hotel is a no-frills hotel, but offers all of the basic amenities to make your stay comfortable. They have wifi but comes with additional charges.  Though you can get free wifi at the mall next door. 
  • Breakfast is free for 2 pax, but additional meals cost a fortune.  We paid about P500 for a simple breakfast meal for my son.  Food was nothing spectacular.
  • Service is very good. Check in was fast and efficient. The staff at the reception and the bell door man are friendly and accommodating.
  • We were a bit sad since there is no pool.  A pool would have been great, especially during summer.
  •  
    For inquiries on Summit Hotel Magnolia (SHM), please visit Summit Hotel's webpage at Summit Hotels Philippines.
     
    Doña Hemady Street corner Aurora Boulevard, New Manila, Quezon City, 1111 Metro Manila
     
Looking for cool activities to do near Summit Hotel Magnolia? Check our visit to the Art In Island Museum.




Saturday, May 14, 2016

Family Swimming Getaway Near the Metro ~ Cattleya Resorts Antipolo

I was the designated scout for a recent family swimming getaway.
 
The task was simple enough
 
Find an affordable, clean private pool venue for a 20+ persons, near the Metro (with no more than 30 minutes to 1 hour travel)... GOODLUCK ME!  
 
So where do I find one?
 
We are from Taytay and my bets are private pool rentals in Tanay and Antipolo.   
 
Our search led us to Cattleya Resorts in Antipolo, just 30 minutes away from where we live. Cattleya Resorts as of writing is made up of nine (9) private rental pools. Rental price range from P4500 to P12000 for day (9am-5pm)use and P5500 to P14000 for a night (7pm-7am) use. 
  1. Corazon - day P12000 / night P14000
  2. Isabel - day P10000 / night P12000
  3. Cristina- day P7000 / night P9000
  4. Dominique- day P10000 / night P12000
  5. Maricor- day P8000 / night P10000
  6. Catherine- day P7000 / night P9000
  7. Arabella- day P7000 / night P9000
  8. Patricia- day P4500 / night P5500
  9. Imelda- day P4500 / night P5500
 
Pools 1 to 7 are good for 50 persons, while pools 8 and 9 are good for 12 persons.
 

The package comes with:
  • Free use of a videoke machine (but may be used up to 12midnight only in observance of the barangay Noise Ban Ordinance);
  • Barbeque grill (bring your own charcoal);
  • Air-conditioned rooms (number of rooms depends on the pool you are renting);
  • Private restrooms;
  • Kitchen (with refrigerator and stove);
  • Children's playground
We have checked out two of Cattleya's pools: Cristina and Catherine. 
 
Cristina has a more scenic view, as it is located at the top most portion of the resort with plenty of trees to block off the scorching sun, however, I find it a bit dated (I think it is one of the first pools to be built in the Cattleya resort's complex).
 
Pictures of the Cristina Pool
 
 
 
 
The bedrooms and bathroom were clean and spotless.
 
 
 
 
Our choice is the Catherine. It has the same facilities as the Cristina, but is newer built. It is located a bit downhill from the resort entrance. Which was fine as it offered more privacy.
 
Plenty of tables and chairs.
 
 
There is also  kiddie pool.


 
My first boodle fight experience - Fun but such a Riot! 
 

You need not go far to have a wonderful summer getaway. 
 
VERDICT: 
  • Cattleya resort offers affordable and clean private pool for family enjoyment. 
  • We love that it is very accessible to where we live, meaning more time spent bonding and swimming over travelling.
  • Booking was easy and transaction smooth.  
  • We had a real good time and would not hesitate to come back.
 
Cattleya Resorts is located at 
Colaique, Sitio Ibabaw,
Bo. San Roque, Antipolo, Rizal
 
For reservations call:
0917-8169759 or 6965839
(look for Vicky or Peregrino)
 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

DAY 6 - TOKYO DISNEY SEA


Today is a special day. It is my son's 12th birthday and one of the reasons why we pushed for a Tokyo Japan vacation.

Our itinerary for today is Tokyo Disney Sea (TDS),  

From Tokyo Disney Land Hotel, where we are staying we took a short train ride via the Tokyo Disneyland Station (We finally got to use our complimentary 3 days train pass, issued to TDL hotel guests) to TDS.



The train station is right in front of our hotel.

 TDS is the second door of Tokyo Disney Resort (TDR).  It was said, it was the costliest theme park ever built at $4B (about P188B).
 
It is huge and grand and huge (oh I already said that) ~ it is magnificently built, no wonder it cost so much.  

It has 7 uniquely themed areas called "ports of call":

Mediterranean Harbor
American Waterfront
Lost River Delta
Port Discovery
Mermaid Lagoon
Arabian Coast and
Mysterious Island.

TIP: If you are planning a visit, pre-download a map and plan an itinerary TOKYO DISNEY SEA MAP.

TIP: Wear really-really comfortable shoes (I cannot stress that enough).  

TIP: The Fast Pass System also works here at TDS.  So keep that in mind in your planning.

Here we are at TDS, the costliest theme park on earth (lol!)


The Disney Aqua Sphere behind us is one of TDS' famous iconic structures.

The park's entrance is the Mediterranean Harbor
Mt. Prometheus is TDS' icon. similar to Cinderella's Castle as TDLs.
  
Our first stop is the Mysterious Island.

 Journey to the Center of the Earth by boarding a subterranean vehicle.  This is a thrill ride by the way, so be careful of unexpected sudden drop deep into the dark caverns. 




Did I mention, my boys hate thrill rides... well I did not know this was one of them and sent my youngest to a verge of almost crying. 

Below is a before riding photo, you would not want to see an after....

  
After my youngest has rested and calmed down (I was really sorry), we headed to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  We get to tour the underwater world on board a submarine. Fortunately they liked this ride.


PORT DISCOVERY
While my youngest was resting, I went to the Port Delta to get an FP at StormRider. Riders here are enlisted to help destroy a deadly and powerful storm ~ so cool!. 

(I was unable to get good photos, so I got these from the TDL website)




Aquatopia is one of my youngest son's favorite rides.  It made me dizzy though.



From here, we boarded the Disney Sea Electric Railway (an elevated electric trolley) to American Waterfront.  I have pre-booked our lunch using Priority Pass (see tip below) at the Sailing Day Buffet.

TIP: Getting into one of TDR full service restaurants is quite difficult, especially during lunch and dinner time. Reservations is highly recommended.  If you are booked in one TDR hotels, make use of the Priority Pass privileges via the Travel Case system.


AMERICAN WATERFRONT

We had lunch at Sailing Say Buffet. I forgot the cost per person, but we paid Y10,100 for the 4 of us. Spread was not extra-ordinary but good.  It includes desserts, unlimited drinks, coffee and ice cream (the ice cream was one of the creamiest I have tasted, but not too sweet).     


After a heavy lunch we toured the American Waterfront a bit.  We rode the Big City Vehicle and gave Turtle Talk a try.

The Big City Vehicle was fine, but the Turtle Talk ~a chat with Crush, the turtle from Finding Nemo was purely Japanese (unless you understand Japanese, you can give this attraction a miss).

One of the Big City Vehicles, waiting for passengers.

At the back is S.S. Columbia a cruise themed fine dining restaurant.

 

From American Waterfront, we went back to Port Discovery via the Disney Electric Railway. The boys wanted to go back to the StormRider, but the queue was a bit long so we used the FP system.  Return time was in 3 hours, so we decided to explore the other ports.

LOST DELTA RIVER

This port features rides and attractions from the remote Central American jungle and ancient civilization.  We saw Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull and the Raging Spirit, both high speed thrill rides - hence, these were obvious pass.

MERMAID LAGOON
A.k.a. the World of Ariel and her aquatic friends.  This port has an indoor theme rides which caters to mostly younger visitors.


My 7 year old totally enjoyed the Mermaid Lagoon he rode ~ Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster, Jumpin' Jelly Fish Blowfish Balloon Race and the Whirlpool. He would have stayed there forever if he can :P






While there, we got a chance to watch King Triton's Under the Sea musical show at the Mermaid Lagoon's Theatre.

(I got these pictures from the TDR website, for your reference since cameras are not allowed inside the theater)




The port next to the Mermaid Lagoon is the Arabian Coast.


ARABIAN COAST

The Arabian Coast features rides from the Arabian Nights and Aladdin.

As we were already running a bit late for our FP at the StormRider, we were only able to squeeze in a few  rides and attractions from the Arabian Coast.

The Magic Lamp Theater, a magic show with Genie and my son's all time favorite ride Caravan Carousel.

 
    
We walked back to Port Discovery and chanced upon Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (Nice pair these two). 
We did the StormRider and the Aquatopia one more time and then headed back to American Waterfront to try our luck at the Big Band Beat ~ TRL fans rave much of BBB (however the boys were not keen on falling in line and waiting for the show)

See those people to the right camping? They are actually in line for the next show.
(If I have taken heed from online reviews ~ re: long line and waiting time, I would taken my chances in the Big Band Beat lottery held earlier in the morning).


I so wanted to ride the Tower of Terror, but my boys had other plans.  For now I had to content myself to a photo in front of the Tower of Terror Hotel :P 

My youngest took this photo (and instructed me to look scared) after taking my photo, he exclaimed "Ma, you can never be an actress, you don't look scared at all!"

 
My boys did not mind waiting in line for Toy Story Mania, though.  This is the longest we've waited in line at 80 minutes for a 5 minute attraction ~ I really felt I should have just insisted on Big Band Beat.  




Some sweets while we wait... to keep our energy up.




Toy Soldiers making our waiting bearable :P


Finally... inside

The highlight of our Tokyo Disney Sea is the Fantasmic parade on the waters of the Mediterranean Harbor.  However, I don't have a photo as I was concentrating on taking a video. 

(I will also link the YouTube post here once uploaded.) 

Overall, I could say Tokyo Disney Sea (TDS) is one of best theme parks I have been to.  I personally think it is more grand than Tokyo Disney Land (TDL), however, compared to it's sister TDL, TDS caters to a more adult clientele. 


My children prefers TDL over TDS. Hence, the choice Themepark for Day 3 of our 3-Day Magic Passport Pass at TDR is TOKYO DISNEY LAND.

Check here for the rest our Tokyo Japan adventure:

DAY 5 - TOKYO DISNEY LAND

See also our DIY Tokyo Japan budget and expenses:
TOKYO JAPAN BUDGET